By Donna Westfall – December 10, 2016 – It was 1948 in Paris, France. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It started in 1946, about a year after the 2nd World War ended and was due primarily to the atrocities perpetrated against the Jews in the Nazi concentration camps.
Former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, championed the adoption of the Declaration of Human Rights amongst 48 member states.
“…recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
— Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
Yet when despotic regimes that sponsor and protect criminals in power, their crimes go unrecognized. Free to murder, mutilate, and rape civilian populations and arbitrarily imprison and torture political opponents. Human traffickers, almost invariably operating with the protection of corrupt local officials and police, enslave children and young women in the sex trade.
This is still happening today almost 70 years later. But the difference is this. Voices are heard. People around the world are making a difference. One politician has been diligently working on making a tremendous difference, President Santos of Columbia.
Saturday, December 10th, in Norway, Columbian President, Juan Miguel Santos, received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring his country’s 50 year-long-civil war to an end. The war has cost the lives of at least 220,000 Colombians, mostly civilians; 8,000 minors have disappeared, 1,000 children have been forcibly recruited by some of the myriad armed groups in the country, and displaced people choosing to leave their homes range close to six million people.
“It is much more difficult to achieve peace than to wage war,” Santos said in a speech after receiving the prize on Saturday. “The real prize is the peace in Colombia.”
Time will tell if his historic peace deal works long term. If it does, it could be the blueprint to solving conflicts in other parts of the world.